This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

22 June 2008

New Discovery Channel Canada Documentary: "Asteroid Trackers"

Monday, June 30 2008 at 7pm ET/8pm PT and simulcast on Discovery HD at 7pm ET/4pm PT, Discovery Channel Canada presents a new documentary on asteroid mitigation. Discovery Channel segment producer Barb Ustina is the person behind this new documentary.

From the show website...

Discovery Channel Scours the Skies for Near-Earth Objects on a Collision Course with Our Planet in Asteroid Trackers, June 30

Just after 7 a.m. on June 30, 1908, a mysterious explosion occurred in the remote area of Tunguska in Siberia. With only overturned trees and singed branches as evidence of this event, scientists are still uncovering data about that collision - and other asteroids - that may be headed straight for us.

On the 100th anniversary of the Tunguska event, Discovery Channel presents Asteroid Trackers, a one-hour original Canadian special that looks at efforts to track Apophis, an asteroid due to come dramatically - and dangerously - close to Earth in 2029 and again in 2036.

Premiering Monday, June 30 at 7pm ET/8pm PT and simulcast on Discovery HD at 7pm ET/4pm PT, this compelling special delves into various facets of asteroid research around the world.

Shot entirely in High Definition and hosted by Daily Planet's Jay Ingram on location from a crater site in Arizona, Asteroid Trackers reveals how experts are attempting to protect the world from near-Earth objects (NEOs). Whether it's determining the composition of the asteroids so they can be destroyed effectively or swarming them with reflective mirrors, find out which deflection methods are pushing the boundaries of technology to protect the planet from yet another cosmic collision.

Highlights from Asteroid Trackers include:

Using one of the world's fastest super computers, Sandia National Laboratories nuclear research investigator Mark Boslough has demonstrated that the asteroid which blasted Tunguska 100 years ago was smaller than experts previously thought. This discovery has strong implications about the size of an asteroid and the amount of damage it can cause. It also begs the question: Do we have more to fear from the numerous small asteroids in our solar system than from the thousands of big ones experts have already identified?

Based on craters studied so far, the planet has been hit by a large asteroid approximately every 100 years, which means we may be due for another one soon. Watch as University of Arizona's violent impact specialist Jay Melosh demonstrates his idea to change an asteroid's course. Using a very simple technique, Melosh is proposing a new way of preventing another cosmic collision - provided we have 10 years' notice.

Most asteroids are discovered by well established research teams, but in an effort to identify and track rogue asteroids, amateur astronomers are also very helpful. Meet Roy Tucker, a passionate astronomer who keeps his eye on the sky in a Tucson, Arizona, suburb. Tucker and his friend were the first to identify Apophis, an asteroid due to come perilously close to Earth in 2029, and possibly again in 2036. See how his constant communication with Harvard Smithsonian's Minor Planet Centre helps experts keep track of dangerous near-Earth objects.

Link: Discovery Channel Canada Show Link

Link: Discovery Channel Press Release

1 comment:

  1. I hope I have the right venue for this. The other day while doing household chores - the radio was on (I keep WNYC, NPR) whenever I'm home. I heard a seemingly bona fide scientist (whose name I can't recall) speak about a recent exploratory Russian spacecraft into which they had placed thousands of caterpillars. No protective covering at all and he indicated that they were exposed to outer space (how I don't Know or he didn't say) the thing is they returned unscatched even flourishing and reproducing. Am I the only one who heary this quite either amazing or bizarre story. Has anyone heard about this or have information - I'm trying to get a fact check and e-mailed the station, etc., but so far its a cul-de-sac.
    If you can please let me know if I heard it wrong or am I delusional?
    Most grateful

    Glory Greller


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